As many of my Facebook ‘friends’ will know, I rarely let the passing of a celebrity, a musician, a philanthropist, an accomplished businessman, an actor, an entertainer, someone who has achieved in her/his life and made a difference, added value to the lives of others, go by without ‘reporting’ it on my ‘timeline’. Of course, I restrict my ‘reporting’ to the passing of ‘famous’ people, famous to the world at large or, sometimes, ‘only’ within their own world (bit impractical, otherwise). Sometimes a BBC ‘obit’ with my accompanying ‘RIP’, at other times a ‘Times’ obit with a few extra words from me, a personal thought. There are times, however, when a blog is more apt – this is one:
I had never heard of Professor S. Barry Cooper but I don’t think that would have bothered him. I think the fact that one of my heroes is Professor Alan Turing OBE, FRS would have pleased him enough, that that alone would have put a smile on his face. Cooper, a brilliant mathematician in his own right, that was acknowledged during his life but it would appear that justice (being done and being seen to be done) and fairness were the foundations of his very being.
We all know – now – who Alan Turing is, thanks to the life and work of Professor Cooper and as Alan Turing is one of my heroes, Professor Cooper is, he must be, also one of my heroes. Professor Cooper wanted to unearth, publicise, bring to the eyes of the world an incomprehensible, unfathomable wrong that was committed. No matter how many times I read about the life of Alan Turing, no matter how many times I see that movie (‘The Imitation Game’), I am, again and again and again, knocked over by a thunderbolt of incredulity. I cannot get my head around the fact that what happened to Alan Turing, the injustice, the unfairness, the earth shattering cruelty, happened not in Iran nor in the Middle Ages but in Britain during the lifetime of my dad!! The thought of this injustice and cruelty remaining unknown and hidden is unimaginable and thank you, thank you, thank you, Professor S. Barry Cooper for putting so much of your life into making sure that that didn’t happen, for bringing Alan Turing’s story out into the open, for securing the Royal Pardon and for ensuring that that very important film was made.
Yours, Professor Cooper, was most definitely a life worth living. You made a massive difference. If you had not lived, a mind boggling injustice may have remained buried for ever and even if, and we’ll never know, it would have been unearthed in the future, YOU unearthed it earlier and made sure that people who wouldn’t have known this important story, did know and took Alan Turing into their hearts. I’m sure that what was done to Alan Turing will always lie heavy in the hearts of his family but I hope that the weight will be lessened a bit thanks to your success. Let us hope that your life turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving and that all the men to whom similar injustices were metered out before 1967 (when finally, after 10 long years, the recommendations of the Wolfenden Report were given legislative authority in The Sexual Offences Act 1967) are ‘given’ a Royal Pardon.
RIP. Big respect!!